You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. Jim Rohn
Scott* came to the appointment a bit disappointed, defeated. “It’s not the right time.” Our recent discussions included his career path and his entrepreneurial dream.
He has achieved what most would call “success” – a six-figure income, prestige, recognition.
Our conversations were exploring his dream to launch his own business. But on that day, it seemed his mind was in a different place, but not his heart.
He was at the fork in the road; would he pursue his dream or not?
Remember that Question
Last week, I wrote about the big-little-question concerning control or influence.
When it comes to personal relationships – whether at work, home, or in the community – there is a response that consistently hinders progress; in fact, it generally creates unnecessary conflict and push back.
Often this particular pattern goes unacknowledged even though its effect is clearly unproductive.
What is it?
This unproductive behavior is the need to control.
By control I mean those efforts designed to make people behave in the way that you want them to behave. It is those unproductive efforts that limit (threaten) another person’s freedom act.
You can read my article here.
The simple question to ask on your way to an important meeting, before that phone call, hard chat or when dealing with conflict:
What do I want, control or influence?
No one – especially people of character, high talent, ambition or creativity – respond positively to attempted control by others. Do you?
However, people committed to excellence and making a difference are open to being influenced by another person – especially when they have their best interests in mind. Now that is a different story.
What happens when you believe someone loves you (I mean, they know you, desire only the best for you, and want to help you achieve your goal). What is your response? How open are you to their influence?
The Drive to Control
This unproductive behavior, trying to control another person, is usually driven by frustration, anxiety, anger, resentment, impatience, guilt, feelings of inadequacy … some expression of fear-based emotion.
Love and fear don’t dwell together. Desiring the best for someone and trying to control does not work.
Leadership is influence, not attempted control. The first person you and I must lead shows up every morning, in our mirror.
The Other Side
What if someone is trying to control you?
This is where personal responsibility is vitally important.
Listen to your words. When you hear blaming, complaining, excuse-making or a victim mentality this indicates avoidance of personal responsibility. Such a response serves as a warning. Notice how you are giving up “control” to someone else.
Now, the question is: what do I want, to be controlled or to be influenced?
The healthy answer, of course, is the desire for a positive influence. Individuals of influence who help us achieve our dreams, make our contribution, and fulfill our purpose in life are a gift.
At the end of our conversation, Scott understood he was not ready to give up on his dream. The hard thing was to accept personal responsibility and prepare to engage in a difficult conversation.
What do I want — control or influence?
What do I want to be — controlled or be influence?
Yes, leadership is influence.
What do you think?
If you like this article, who could you forward it to?
Pick up your copy of my new book:
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader
Order your copy today!